Well, the Sol thing rumbles on. Opinions have been divided. Some people think we should cut him some slack, others think his behaviour was extremely poor and that he’s let his manager, the young team-mates he’s supposed to giving an example to and the fans down.
Steve Stammers reported in the Evening Standard that Arsenal were discussing tactics during the half-time break when Campbell asked to speak to Wenger. They spent 5 minutes away from the rest of the players who were then stunned as the manager told Seb Larsson he was going on. Previously there had been no mention of making any changes and with defenders as thin on the ground as hair on Bobby Charlton’s head it beggars belief that no matter how badly he was playing the manager would take him off to replace him with a debutant right footed midfielder to play at left back.
That leaves us with the simple fact that Sol told the manager he didn’t want to, or couldn’t, play on. Some whispers said he’d told the manager he was never going to play again. A 31 year old veteran of two World Cups, a title winner, an FA Cup winner, absolutely bottled it. A player we pay a huge amount of money to each week refused to play for our club. Then he turned his back on everyone and went home before the end of the game. The manager is publicly playing down the incident but it’s a serious a breach of discipline as we’ve ever had really and if it’s causing shockwaves amongst the fans it must be doing the same in the squad. Obviously there’s something very wrong with him, Robert Pires says he has a big personal worry, and while I hope he gets better the bottom line is his behaviour was totally unacceptable. We all have personal worries, we don’t all storm out of work half-way through the day when something goes wrong. Although we’re completely down the bare bones in terms of defensive players, we have two fit, I don’t want him anywhere near the team at the moment.
Not that he’s going to be as Arsene Wenger spoke about the squad ahead of the Birmingham game and said “Sol Campbell won’t play.” – and reports say he’s been given 5 days off to clear his head.
That does leave us short at the back as Djourou and Senderos are the only two fit defenders we have without dipping right into the youth teams. The boss revealed that Lauren could well miss the rest of the season – which is a very big blow – while Kerrea Gilbert’s back injury will keep him out. Add them to Cygan, Cole, Clichy, Toure, Eboue and the bottler and it’s asking a lot of the squad to cope. I thought Larsson did well at left back the other night so I’d be happy for him to continue there while Mathieu Flamini did not look at all out of place at right back. The manager is considering using Gilberto there or in central defence but I hope that doesn’t happen. Whatever side he picks the back four is going to be seriously makeshift.
More positively José and Cesc are back while new boy Adebayor could be involved. No mention of Walcott though. Must be saving him for Madrid.
Thank fuck it’s Friday though, eh?